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Establishing the fresh water snail, Biomphalaria glabrata as a new model of ageing to study the effects of senotherapeutic drugs on life-span


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  Dr Joanna Bridger  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Biomphalaria glabrata is a freshwater tropical snail that is the intermediate host for the human neglected disease Schistosomiasis. Our laboratory have evidence that a mechanism that regulates gene movement in human cells is present in this molluscan model organism. We have also discovered that this same mechanism consisting of nuclear motor proteins is not functional in old snails. This makes this organism, an ideal animal to establish a new whole organism model to investigate this nuclear motor complex, essential for chromatin dynamics but also how to reinstate its function in old snails using various methods for intervention. This project will entail investigating the components of the nuclear motor complex, assays using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), bio-imaging and image analysis, performing CRISPR/cas9 genomic engineering in the snail and/or in a B. glabrata cell line.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.


The snail Biomphalaria glabrata as a model to interrogate the molecular basis of complex human diseases. Bridger JM, Brindley PJ, Knight M. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Aug 9;12(8):e0006552. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006552
The Compatibility Between Biomphalaria glabrata Snails and Schistosoma mansoni: An Increasingly Complex Puzzle. Mitta G, Gourbal B, Grunau C, Knight M, Bridger JM, Théron A. Adv Parasitol. 2017;97:111-145. doi: 10.1016/bs.apar.2016.08.006.
Epigenetic modulation, stress and plasticity in susceptibility of the snail host, Biomphalaria glabrata, to Schistosoma mansoni infection. Knight M, Ittiprasert W, Arican-Goktas HD, Bridger JM. Int J Parasitol. 2016 Jun;46(7):389-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.03.003.

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